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Corey Kluber winding up vs. Tigers in May 2021

Corey Kluber winding up vs. Tigers in May 2021

When Corey Kluber learned that he had a sub-scapular strain in his right shoulder, the Yankees said that he would be shut down for four weeks before he’d even be allowed to pick up a ball again.

But manager Aaron Boone flipped that script on Thursday before the Yanks’ matinee with the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I would say there’s some optimism,” he told reporters via Zoom. “He’ll probably start a flat-ground program sometime in the next few days. But I’ll probably have more when he gets here, and we sit down and meet and start to map out a plan.”

This decision came after the Yankees got secondary opinions on Kluber’s injury situation. His timeline to return – Kluber was supposed to miss at least two months – is still in tact, though.

“I still think it looks like a similar timeline, but a flat-ground program will probably start sooner rather than later,” Boone said.

However, it’s still a big blow to the Yanks considering what Kluber was able to accomplish recently. He had the no-hitter in Texas against the Rangers, but this shoulder issue came about in his next start.

Boone will need to continue using spot starters, unless someone can hold down Kluber’s role in the rotation consistently. Deivi Garcia and Michael King didn’t provide good outings in their recent starts against the Tigers, and they are the top two candidates to fill in.

Britton continues forward progress

Zack Britton continues to pitch with Double-A Somerset, as he works his way back from elbow surgery. After another outing on Wednesday night, Boone said everything looks good once again for the veteran left-hander.

“Brit came out well,” he said. “I actually talked to him five minutes ago inside. He felt good, felt like his stuff ticked up. So I think he’s encouraged. He said normal post-game soreness today, but I felt he was really encouraged, and stuff ticked up a bit.

“He goes Saturday again.”